Swansea tech start-up a step closer to building UK’s first intelligent business chatbot thanks to SMART partnership

Swansea based tech start-up Business Butler is a step closer to developing the UK’s first intelligent business chatbot after a SMART Partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University helped prepare the business for a soft launch in Swansea.

SMART Partnerships from the Welsh Government offer financial support to innovative collaboration projects that require a range of expertise to succeed. This support helps to increase the capacity and capabilities of Welsh businesses to develop R&D activities by linking them with Research Organisations and an associate to work on a specific project.

Business Butler have used the SMART Partnership to help develop their idea of an intelligent business chatbot with the ability to assist small and medium sized enterprises and business start-ups by offering advice on dozens of business topics and a matching service with vetted business experts.

The chatbot will use natural language processing to analyse inputs from users, ask clarification questions about their business and selection criteria to deliver relevant and targeted business advice via several platforms, including app and website. The chatbot will complement an innovative business matching service already available on the Business Butler website.

Bhupinder Sidhu, the founder of Business Butler explains more:

“We believe the chatbot will be able to make a significant contribution to SME businesses, supporting sustainable growth, helping to grow profitability and ultimately improving business survival rates.”

“To help make our idea of a business chatbot a reality we knew we needed quality technical expertise, so we approached Cardiff Metropolitan University to be our Research Organisation partner. Together we developed a SMART Partnerships application which has led to real technical advancements within Business Butler and in our understanding of how AI can be used to benefit business.”

The funding from SMART Partnerships enabled Business Butler to recruit a full-time developer to work on the coding and development of the chatbot which is being done with the support and guidance of senior academics from the university.

Matthew Taylor, Director of Innovation, said:

“Once again, the SMART Partnership programme has provided a great platform to allow Cardiff Met to apply our research for the benefit of a local company. The scheme is easy to access, affordable, and has allowed academics from our new School of Technologies to successfully collaborate with Business Butler.”

The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, stated:

“In such a dynamic and ever-changing technological environment, Welsh Government is proud to be supporting our Universities and businesses in working together to meet the challenges of the future. Our SMART Partnerships programme is just one way we can assist with the creation and commercialisation of successful new products, processes and services which will contribute to the economic growth that our communities and businesses need.”

The first release of the chatbot is due in May 2020 and project updates will be available on the Business Butler website: www.businessbutlerswansea.com